Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

October 19, 2018

Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

“Donald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a Guardian reporter, saying that someone who performs a body slam is ‘my guy.’

Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy in the course of a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters on Thursday night when he said: ‘Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.’

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: ‘Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.’

Trump’s comments mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil.”

— “Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter: ‘He’s my guy,'” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

In related news, PEN America is suing Mr.Trump in New York district court, claiming he “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution,” a document which doesn’t consider the press to be the Enemy of the People.

More:

“Trump’s Attacks on the Press Are Illegal. We’re Suing.” Suzanne Nossel, Politico

“Suing Trump for endangering the First Amendment,” Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Yale Law clinic helps writers group file First Amendment suit against Trump,” Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

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Jamal’s Apple Watch

October 15, 2018

Jamal's Apple Watch
On Saturday, pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah reported that Turkish officials have audio recordings of the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi journalist who went missing on October 2nd after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul and is presumed dead at the hands of a Saudi hit squad. The newspaper claims that Khashoggi recorded his own death on his Apple Watch and transmitted the audio files to his iPhone, held by his fiancée on the street outside the consulate.

That’s a memorable but unlikely story. Smartwatches connect to cellphones via Bluetooth, and it’s doubtful a signal could travel that far, and the likely recording app only transfers audio files after the watch wearer turns it off, a hard task for the deceased. If Turkish agents have such recordings, it’s most likely because they have the Saudi consulate bugged, and they spread the watch story as cover.

Mr. Khashoggi was a permanent resident of the U.S., so maybe the American ambassadors to Turkey and Saudi Arabia can look into the matter. Oh wait, President Trump still hasn’t appointed anyone to those crucial diplomatic posts.

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Lock Up Your Daughter’s iPad! Carlos Danger Is On the Loose.

October 10, 2018

Lock Up Your Daughter's iPad! Carlos Danger Is On the Loose

Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) will exit prison early, leaving his fellow sex offenders behind (what an awkward last phrase).

More:

“Anthony Weiner to be released early from federal prison,” Matthew Choi, Politico

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Trump Family: Tax Scams All the Way Down

October 4, 2018

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The New York Times revealed a multi-million-dollar case of Trump family tax fraud last week. Poppa Fred Trump set up phony companies to funnel money to his progeny withour paying gift tax to the IRS — that is, to American taxpayers. He also routinely undervalued properties. Donnie Trump was “earning” $200,000 a year as a 3-year-old,  and was a millionaire by age 8. So much for the “self-made-man” myth. Donald Trump seems to have continued the chicanery with daddy’s money when he was full grown. No wonder he’s never revealed his personal tax returns, despite his campaign promises.

Times reporter Susanne Craig first looked at the financial papers of President Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, submitted to the Senate when she was nominated as a federal judge. An odd $1 million payment from a mysterious family-owned company stood out, and led to the Times investigation.

The charges were denied by a Trump family attorney, and of course Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied about them. President Trump called the Times story “old and boring,” but didn’t deny the story’s findings.Mr. Trump has been caught committing tax fraud before, and New York State tax authorities are looking into the new allegations.

More:

“Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father,” Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and David Barstow, New York Times

“Fred Trump’s Tax Scheme Was Quite Impressive,” Matt Levine, Bloomberg

“Republicans Rigged the System to Enable Crimes Like Trump’s Tax Evasion,” Harry Cheadle, Vice

“Trump’s Shady Accounting Playbook for the Hyper-rich,” Annie Lowery, The Atlantic

“The Trump Family’s Tax Dodging Is Symptomatic of a Larger Problem,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“How Times Journalists Uncovered the Original Source of the President’s Wealth,” Melina Delkic, New York Times

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Brett Kavanaugh: Perjury?

September 7, 2018

When Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during 2004 confirmation hearings on his DC Circuit Court nomination, he said, under oath, that he had not seen confidential memos regarding the judicial nomination of William Pryor that were pilfered from Democratic senators by GOP staffer Manuel Miranda, and was not involved in Bush White House discussions about the Pryor nomination. Guess what was in the “committee confidential” emails released at 3AM on Thursday? An email about the Pryor nomination.

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Donald Trump, Banana Republican

September 4, 2018

Donald Trump, Banana Republican

On Monday President Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Federal indictments of two sitting Republican congressmen, both strong Trump supporters:

Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded: to the President’s partisan attack on the rule of law:

“The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice – one for the majority party and one for the minority party. These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the President was when the investigations began. Instead of commenting on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, the job of the President of the United States is to defend the Constitution and protect the impartial administration of justice.”

“This is not the conduct of a President committed to defending and upholding the constitution,” tweeted Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, “but rather a President looking to use the Department of Justice to settle political scores.”

Contrary to Mr. Trump’s tweet, at least one of the investigations began during his own administration. Rep. Christopher Collins (R, NY-27) is charged with participating in an insider trading scheme, and phoned insider stock tips while picnicking on the White House lawn in June 2017. He has denied wrongdoing but is not seeking re-election. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R, CA-50) and his wife were indicted for allegedly using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. Mr. Hunter is still on the midterm ballot.

More:

“Trump Twitter attack on Sessions and Justice is most serious impeachment fodder yet,” Chris Truax, USA Today

“Trump’s Attacks on Jeff Sessions and the DOJ Are Reaching Absurd New Levels,” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“Trump sets up rule-of-law crisis,” Jonathan Swan, Axios

“The Proud Corruption of Donald Trump,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“Sorry, Mr. Trump, the Attorney General Is America’s Lawyer,” New York Times editors

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He’s Number 1!

August 22, 2018

He's Number 1!

U.S. President Donald J.Trump has been implicated by Michael Cohen, his former attorney, in violating campaign finance law. In Mr. Cohen’s plea agreement, the unindicted co-conspirator in the White House is simply identified as “Individual-1.”

“Of all the things Trump has been called, ‘Individual 1’ may be the most damaging,” John Dickerson, CBS News

More:

“How Michael Cohen’s guilty plea implicates Trump,” Sam Baker, Axios

“Michael Cohen Attorney: ‘Donald Trump Directed Him To Commit A Crime,’” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“With Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea, President Trump Has Been Implicated in a Criminal Conspiracy,” Adam Davidson, The New Yorker

“‘He’s Unraveling’: Why Cohen’s Betrayal Terrifies Trump,” Michael Kruse, Politico

Related:

“Cohen Has ‘Knowledge’ of Ru,ssia Campaign Conspiracy, Lawyer Says,” Shannon Pettypiece,  Jennifer Jacobs , and Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg

“Is Donald Trump Above the Law?” James Risen, The Intercept

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Manafort: Guilty. Now for the next trial. Oh, and Michael Cohen.

August 22, 2018
Manafort: Guilty. Now for the next trial. Oh, and Michael Cohen.

Paul Manafort’s new LinkedIn photo.

Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort has been found guilty of filing false income tax returns, failing to report his foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud, 8 counts in all, carrying a combined maximum penalty of 80 years in prison. The jury could not reach unanimity on the remaining 10 counts, and Judge T.S. Ellis declared mistrials on those, meaning prosecutors may ask for a new trial on those counts. Mr. Manafort’s next federal trial begins on September 17th in Washington DC on charges alleging he acted as an unregistered foreign agent and additional fraud charges. Paul Manafort is the fourth former Trump aide to be convicted of crimes charged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In unrelated GOP crime news, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, pleaded guilty today to income tax evasion, making an unlawful corporate campaign contribution, bank fraud, and making an excessive campaign contribution, 8 counts in all. While combined penalties could  total as much as 65 years imprisonment, this plea deal means Mr. Cohen probably faces up to 5 years in prison. The plea agreement does not preclude him from providing information to special counsel Mueller, a deal that would involve sentence reduction. In his plea, Mr. Cohen said he made the illegal campaign payments – hush money – at the direction of a presidential candidate. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12th.

More:

“Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election,” Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, and Renae Merle, Washington Post

“Why Donald Trump can’t distance himself from Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, in one tweet,” Dara Lind, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Trump Throws Junior Under the Bus

August 9, 2018

Trump Throws Junior Under the Bus

Too impatient to read all the way through the story of Issac in Mike Pence’s Bible, President Donald Trump sacrificed eldest son Donald Trump Jr. to the Mueller investigation last Sunday.

That’s right. The president threw his firstborn under the bus, but claims he himself is innocent. Daddy Trump is implicating his own son in a conspiracy violation of federal election law, and also making false statements to Congress about Russian campaign involvement. No wonder President Trump’s allies have urged him to stop tweeting about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

More:

“President Admits Trump Tower Meeting Was Meant to Get Dirt on Clinton,” Michael D. Shear and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

“Trump acknowledges, defends 2016 meeting between son, Kremlin-aligned lawyer,” Ashley Parker and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Donald Trump throws his eldest son under the bus: And yes, this ‘collusion’ could be criminal,” Bob Cesca, Salon

“Thrown Under the Legal Bus’: Lawyer Says Trump May Have Just Implicated His Son in a Series of Crimes,” Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“Why Would Trump Throw Don Jr. Under The Legal Bus?” Elie Mystal, Above The Law

“Donald Trump Jr.’s Potential Legal Troubles, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“The Double Damage of the President’s Trump Tower Admission,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia,” Adam Davidson, The New Yorker

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Manafort Trial Begins

July 31, 2018
Manafort Trial Begins

Paul Manafort’s new LinkedIn photo.

The first federal trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort begins today. This is his trial for money laundering, bank fraud, and related charges resulting from Mr. Manafort’s unregistered lobbying and consulting for Russia-backed candidate Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.

In this trial, with one exception, we don’t expect to hear any references to the defendant’s role in Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, or his presence at the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives, but there are certain to be juicy details about the lavish lifestyle funded by Paul Manafort’s questionable gains.

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